About Unification Church Tradition


A New Authorized Translation of the Family Pledge

Dr. Andrew Wilson
September 16, 1996

Family Pledge

1. Our family pledges to seek our original homeland and establish the original ideal of creation, the Kingdom of God on Earth and in Heaven, by centering on true love.

2. Our family pledges to seek our original homeland and establish the original ideal of creation, the Kingdom of God on Earth and in Heaven, by centering on true love.

3. Our family pledges to perfect the Four Great Realms of Heart, the Three Great Kingships, and the Realm of the Royal Family, by centering on true love.

4. Our family pledges to build the universal family encompassing Heaven and Earth, which is God's ideal of creation, and perfect the world of freedom, peace, unity and happiness, by centering on true love.

5. Our family pledges to strive every day to advance the unification of the spirit world and the physical world as subject and object partners, by centering on true love.

6. Our family pledges to embody God and True Parents; we will perfect a family which moves heavenly fortune and conveys Heaven's blessing to our community, by centering on true love.

7. Our family pledges to perfect a world based on the culture of heart, which is rooted in the original lineage, by centering on true love.

The Family Pledge is more than just a prayer for members of the Unification Church. For the 360,000 couples of the recent Blessing and the 3.6 million couples to be blessed next year, belonging to every religion and culture, the Family Pledge contains the essential teaching for their way of life as blessed couples. It was printed in the official program of the inauguration of the Family Federation for World Peace last month. World leaders, including presidents and ambassadors from over a hundred nations, signed the Family Pledge. As it has become more and more famous, a crying need arose to improve the English translation, to create a version in clear and elegant English.

When Father first promulgated the Family Pledge in 1994, it was translated rather hastily and with relatively little understanding of its deep meaning. Since over the past three years Father has revealed much about its content, a more sensitive translation of the Family Pledge became possible. Now, a new and improved English translation of the Family Pledge has been authorized.

The germ for this new translation arose when Rev. Joong Hyun Pak teamed up with Dr. Tyler Hendricks and Dr. Andrew Wilson to develop the True Family Values ministry. Rev. Pak understood that the starting-point for true family values was the Family Pledge, which Father has given humankind as the constitution for life in the Kingdom of God. Therefore, he guided the team to begin by preparing a commentary on the Family Pledge. A rough outline, entitled True Family Values: Seven Principles for the Growth of Love, was distributed throughout the church in March of this year. The finished commentary, entitled simply True Family Values, will be published in October. At the same time, based on this commentary, Dr. Hendricks put together the True Family Values lectures that have been given to ministers in Washington with great effect. More books and lectures are in the pipeline. The teachings of the Family Pledge are so rich and so deep that to explain them properly requires the elaboration of hundreds of pages of educational materials on true family values. Furthermore, the Family Pledge is so timely that its teachings are resounding in the hearts of ministers and lay people who are searching desperately for true love and a way to heal America's broken families.

While working on the True Family Values ministry, as the team delved deeply into the Family Pledge, some weaknesses of the existing translation became obvious. For instance, the English word "represents" was used in the second pledge and the sixth pledge to translate two different Korean words, daep'yo and daeshin, which have subtly different meanings. Again, the words "dedicating ourselves to God and True Parents" in the second pledge actually translate "attend God and True Parents"; attendance in the Principle has a profound meaning which is only barely conveyed by the English word "dedicating." In seeking to remedy these and other problems, new translations of many words in the pledge suggested themselves. In short, the time was right for an improved translation of the Family Pledge. Rev. Pak convened the committee which had recently published the new translation of the Divine Principle-Jin Goon Kim, Dr. Andrew Wilson, Dr. Tyler Hendricks, and Michael Inglis. It produced this new translation, which has now been approved by Father.

Notable differences

The first and most obvious difference in the new pledge is that the phrase, "by centering on true love" is transposed to the end of each pledge, replacing "centered on true love" which came after "our family." When we recited, "Our family, centered on true love," it seemed to require that our family already be centered on true love, in other words, be living in the state of perfection. Unless we were centered on true love, how could we even begin to fulfill the Family Pledge? We wished it to be so, and maybe our pledge was a prayer that we would one day reach that goal. Yet it appeared as if the specific aims of the pledge were nearly out of reach, impossible to attain until we became a family centered on true love. Such a view, however, would be to misunderstand the Family Pledge. The phrase jungshimhago in Korean is not an adjective modifying "our family," rather, it is an adverbial phrase modifying "pledges." That is, centering on true love is our means of accomplishing the pledge, not the requisite spiritual condition for our family before we can even begin. Centering on true love is a process and a means. By centering ever more completely on true love, we are able to fulfill each of the seven pledges. Therefore, when we say the pledge, we are pledging first to center on true love in the course of fulfilling its seven goals.

Placing this phrase at the end of each pledge gives the Pledge a beautiful, elegant and high style. It mirrors the cadence of the Korean, where each pledge concludes with the same word: maengsehanaida. English does not permit the verb to be placed at the end of a sentence; hence the original Korean word order cannot be duplicated unless one were to add an extra sentence like "This we pledge and swear" at the end of each pledge. That was done in the translation of "My Pledge," but it is awkward. English demands that the verb "pledge" be in the middle of the sentence, following upon the subject "Our family." Adverbial phrases, on the other hand, like "by centering on true love," can naturally fit at the end of a sentence. Each time we pledge to establish the Kingdom of God, or to fulfill the Four Great Realms of Heart, we also pledge to center on true love as the means to fulfilling these goals. Therefore, it is appropriate to end each pledge with the same phrase, "by centering on true love," just as the Korean ends each pledge with the same verb, maengsehanaida.

In the first pledge, the new translation reads, "to seek," where the older translation reads, "by restoring." The Korean ch'acha means to seek. To translate it as "restoring" is misleading, because in the Divine Principle the word restore, Korean pokkui, has the particular theological meaning of restoration through indemnity. Seeking may include restoring, but it may mean other activities as well which do not require making indemnity conditions. In fact, it is noteworthy that the Family Pledge nowhere uses the word "indemnity." The Family Pledge is the constitution for the Kingdom of God, which will stand when all restoration through indemnity has finished. By reading "our" instead of "the" original homeland, the pledge means that each family has to find its own original homeland in its hometown, as its part in the cosmic restoration of Eden. In fact, just as Adam and Eve wished to return to the place of their creation, our hometown is meant to become our own Garden of Eden.

The second pledge is a very long sentence; we chose to break it up into two. The two halves of this pledge are parallel ways of describing the right vertical order of love. The new pledge uses "Heaven and Earth" instead of "cosmos" to translate ch'onju. In ordinary English, "cosmos" means something like "outer space." "Heaven and Earth" conveys the meaning exactly. The phrase "to represent and become central to Heaven and Earth" replaces "a central family that represents the cosmos." The Korean clearly describes two distinct ways in which the family should relate to Heaven and Earth: as a family which represents Heaven and Earth before God, and as a family which is central to Heaven and Earth's salvation and prosperity-its central figure. The older translation conflated these two relations into one; yet they are distinct. By rendering the Korean word moshi as "by attending" instead of "by dedicating ourselves," the new translation the fuller meaning of this word.

"The dutiful way" is a more profound translation than merely "way" of the Korean dori. It means the way (do) that is in accordance with the principles and purposes (li) of the cosmos and our proper place in it. Of its four steps, the first, "filial piety," specifically connects with the profound meaning of, this Confucian virtue. It means far more than just being a loyal, filial son or daughter. The final step of the dutiful way is to become "divine sons and daughters." This highest stage is far above "holy." Holiness means set apart for the service of God, and most any saint or sage could be called such. "Divine," on the other hand, means to be God-like, to be an incarnation of God. This is the concept of chongja: the highest, most exalted station, as God's own sons and daughters.

In the fourth pledge, we are called to "build the universal family encompassing Heaven and Earth." We participate in building it, assisting God, its creator. The old translation, "one great family" added the word "one" which was not in the Korean. Though "great" was literal, "universal" more accurately conveys the meaning of an all- encompassing family including everyone. We "perfect" the world of freedom, translating the Korean word wansong.

The Family Pledge uses this word in five of its seven pledges. Somehow, this repetition is meaningful; hence the new translation always renders wansong literally as "perfect" and not with circumlocutions like "fully realize" or "become an ideal." This world has four attributes: "peace, freedom, unity and happiness." The third of these renders the Korean word tongil, which could be translated either as unity or unification, depending on the sense. Unification is a process of making unity; unity is the end state and the goal. Since this pledge is about the goal of an ideal world, characterized by peace, freedom and happiness; tongil here is best translated "unity." In the fifth pledge, which is about development and process, the same word tongil is translated "unification."

In the fifth pledge, the phrase "to advance the unification of the spirit world and the physical world," translates a compounded series of Korean words, literally, "go forward to greater development toward the unity between" the two worlds, into clear, precise English. By rendering "spiritual world (subject) and the physical world (object)" as "the spirit world and the physical world as subject and object partners," the new translation avoids the awkward use of parentheses. The new terminology "subject partner" for "subject" (juch'e) and "object partner" for "object" (daesang) is consistent with usage in the new translation of the Divine Principle. It would, of course, be totally misleading to say "subjective spirit world and objective physical world." In normal English usage, subjective means a personal experience or mental concept that is only within one person's mind and cannot be fully shared with others, while objective means what is factual and true for everyone. That would make the physical world more real than the spirit world!

As already noted, the older translation of the sixth pledge employed the word "represents" to translate daeshin, yet the same word "represents" was already used in the second pledge to translate daep'yo. Daeshin has a deeper, more internal meaning than daep'yo; It connotes an inner oneness of heart and soul. Therefore, it is better translated by "embody." Once again, this pledge uses the Korean word wansong, which is literally translated "perfect" rather than more loosely "become an ideal." Our family "moves" heavenly fortune. The older translation, "mobilize" implied that heavenly fortune is already stored up, rather stiffly waiting to do its predestined will, if only we give the command. But this is not the case. The power of heavenly fortune is variable, according to our heart and actions. For example, Father's sacrifice moved God's Heart, and heavenly fortune, even beyond what God expected.

We will perfect a family which "conveys Heaven's blessing to our community." Aside from the improper English of the older translation- the verb "multiply" cannot take an indirect object-the phrase "our surroundings" in common usage means our environment, the space and things around us. But this pledge is about conveying God's blessings especially to the people around us, not so much to all things. The word "community" gives the proper sense. Why does the new translation read "Heaven's blessing" in the singular? Korean does not usually distinguish between singular and plural. By using the singular, "blessing," the pledge reminds us that all God's blessings are summed up in the Holy Blessing given by True Parents. The sixth pledge is most especially about bringing people to the Blessing.

Finally, the seventh pledge calls us to perfect "a world based on the culture of heart." The English word "heart" is sufficiently close to the meaning of shimjung that it can well be used here. Shimjung is already translated as heart in the third pledge, in "the Four Great Realms of Heart." Nothing is gained by using a Korean word, even one so exalted as shimjung, in the English-language pledge. As the Family Pledge becomes well-known throughout the world, its meaning need not be veiled by words in another language. It should not be difficult for English-speakers to understand what is meant by the culture of heart, if we are first clear about it ourselves.

Why does the Pledge precede the culture of heart with "a world based on"? The culture of heart is internal. The world based on it means a political-economic-spiritual society, with its achievements in the arts, literature, science, economy and politics, founded upon and built upon this internal culture of heart. Even more internal is the root of the culture of heart: true families that maintain their purity and their Blessing. Therefore, the culture of heart is "rooted in the

original lineage." Previously, the words "connected to" implied a vague and rather external relationship. People are connected by telephone. "Rooted in" means that the original lineage is the foundation of everything in this culture. The word "lineage" means descent by blood line. In English, we do not use the term "blood lineage." It would anyway be redundant, since lineage already implies a relationship of blood. The original lineage is that lineal relationship with God our Heavenly Father that was meant to be established in the family of Adam and Eve and that can now be re- established through the Blessing, when we are engrafted into the True Parents' lineage.

Please keep in mind some of these points as you recite this new authorized translation of the Family Pledge. The Family Pledge is an incredibly condensed statement of all of the Divine Principle and Father's teachings as they relate to the responsibility and lifestyle of blessed families. Indeed, it contains the essence of the True Family's life, their quality of heart, and the core meaning of all the projects they have initiated for the building of God's Kingdom. To learn more about the Family Pledge, this writer humbly recommends that you read True Family Values, which will be available shortly from HSA Publications.

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